Read a blog post tonight that asked the question:
What does living simply mean to me?
I have written on this topic before. A guest recently told me things were too quiet on the farm. I wanted to say that was not an accident.
The pace of my life (now) and what I involve myself with is very intentional.
That has not always been the case…..
I want to take you back to the Winter of 1987-1988. We were living in Northern New Jersey, 1000 miles from home. I’d gone back to school to take some classes in marriage and family counseling. Three kids in tow. I was also working a full-time job, involved 2 nights a week in youth outreach and another evening devoted to a couples small group. Weekends were no better. They were packed with meetings, outreach, and service projects.
things started to unravel at home.
Here is a picture I had taped to the wall in front of my desk. It was to remind me that I can be busy…going nowhere fast:
It was a painful, watershed season in my life. The pressures were intense.
I was confused and angry.
(I’ve had harder times since but that is for another day/ another story). 😉
Years later, one of our kids was diagnosed with panic attacks. We came across the book, The Anxiety Cure that addressed many of the root causes that had gotten me so far off course in those early years.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
“We are all on the same train…You can’t turn back the clock to simpler times- although I confess, this is a wonderful fantasy that I occasionally indulge as a form of escape. I frequently reflect on the many happy childhood times I had with my grandparents. They lived a simple, country life. They were totally self-sufficient, tilling a small piece of land and raising their own food. They saved wisely for their retirement and spent little money during the bleak years of the Second World War. With only a a shortwave radio to connect them to the rest of the world, life seemed simple yet luxurious to me as a child. There was a sense of unhurriedness and simple pleasures. All the money in the world couldn’t buy such luxury in today’s world.
It is not for sale; you have to create it….
(Did you catch that? You have (and can) create it. DM)
Frankly, thought, seeking to live a balanced life is like trying to find your way through a dangerous minefield. The way to survival is narrow and must be charted with care if you are going to come out the end intact. You need to understand all the dangers and have clearly worked out strategies for avoiding disaster….”
For us, the course to a simpler life did mean moving to the country. (You don’t have to own, btw, we rented initially, and were fully prepared to rent instead of own if we had to)
Slowing down the pace of our lives, intentionally choosing to live with less.
I rarely (never?) watch network TV and its cursed “news cycle.”
I have lived long enough to notice patterns in how news is marketed on a national level. It is much more manipulative than I ever realized growing up. I refuse to let some nameless media exec manipulate my emotions.
There’s more I could tell you but the coffee is ready, got to go. 😉
An hour later… I am not saying that a person has to live in the country to live a simple life, because that is not an option for everybody. Living in the country does not automatically translates into simplicity. What I am saying is this: In 1987 after coming to the end of myself, I took the time to identify some long range goals based on my personal interests and desires, with the eye to living a more balanced life. Part of what that looked like for me included “having a home in the countryside with animals and “growing things.”
Here I sit 27 years later and will tell you I was right. The end.